Developing mobile applications for enterprise organizations is becoming increasingly common. It is expected that 75% of the Fortune 500 will develop at least three iPhone, iPad, or Android apps by 2014 (Gartner). So what is the craze all about? Here are the Top-5 reasons why your company should consider a mobile app or responsive design website this year:
1. Better Customer Engagement: One of the main reasons to develop a mobile app is to improve the customer’s experience. By using the device to customize their experience based on location or preferences, companies can deliver in real-time.
When done right, your app is just one of many ways customers can access your products or services. Take for instance Bank of America. The Bank of America app offers the ability for customers to take a picture of a check and make deposits up to $25,000 per week. For many customers, that is a huge time saver not to have to physically visit the bank to deposit a check. Additionally, the app offers customers with the ability to message a customer service representative – so, if they ever have questions they are just a click or call away.
**2. Your Website Requires Pinching: **According to the recent Ericsson Mobility Report, 60% of the world’s population will have a smart phone by 2019. Given that most companies are still not offering a responsive design website, customers are jumping ship early…and the problem is only getting worse. Mobile apps and responsive design websites are the best ways to prevent your customers from pinching your website and eventually pinching their pennies away from your brand.
**3. Promotion and Exclusivity: **Put simply, there is something impressive about having a mobile app. Not only does it offer real value as discussed above, but it raises your customer’s perception of your brand. According to the marketing research firm Forrester, “mobile is one of the best mediums for brands to build customer relationships.” It may be that customer perception doesn’t matter to your brand, but there is something to be said about exclusivity. Not every brand is on the Apple’s App Store or Google’s PlayStore. So, brands that do have an app tend to stand out. For example, Nike has linked their brand closely with Apple’s iOS users through the Nike+ app and other running tools. By doing so, Nike is associating itself with Apple and allowing customers to naturally engage with their brand on their device.
**4. Return on Investment: **The cost of not building an app or mobile experience for your customers or prospects may be higher than building one. Take for example the average cost to develop an app per device being less than 0.01% of a companies’ revenue (Distimo). While the costs may still seem high, that is very low compared to the return in sales or brand reputation that could be achieved. Feel free to calculate what less than a tenth of a percentage of your companies’ revenue would be and see if it might make sense for you. While brand reputation may be difficult to measure, sales are not – make sure you offer customers an easy way to purchase from mobile.
**5. You Can Start Small: **A good way to “test the waters” with mobile development is by piloting your project. Typically, a development team can create a minimum viable product version of your app to test and see if it will work for your customer’s segment before going “all-in” with every device type and feature imaginable. Be sure the app that is developed includes the most minimum features that will offer the highest value.
In conclusion, a custom mobile app might not be right for your organization. If a mobile app is not right for your business, a responsive website may be a good alternative. Stay tuned for next month’s article on the difference between native apps vs. responsive design.